Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Coaches Say When Staff Are Careless

Managing careless staff can be very frustrating for both the manager and the team particularly if the staff member appears not to care about how their performance is affecting others. If you ignore it, it will only continue and possibly get worse. Your job is to address the situation. But how do you do it without everyone feeling uncomfortable?

Some great one liners you can use to open the conversation include:

Coach: I noticed that there was a problem with the Widget project. You're usually on top of this stuff, but there have been some errors so I just want to make sure that everything is okay. How are you? Is everything okay? Incidence of errors is highly correlated with stress. Listen for underlying causes that may need to be addressed.

Coach: Hmmm... Well, we want you to be feeling and performing at your best. If you are OK, can we talk about how it's all progressing?

Then ask them some empowering questions like, "What's the ideal outcome here? What is it that you really wanted to achieve?" "I notice you've made some careless errors recently that caused a problem. What happened there? What got in the way of achieving the goal?" "What do you need to change to make sure it goes smoothly next time?" "Can I count on you to do that?" Is there any way that I/we can support you to resolve this? Encourage staff to share her ideas. Make notes of their suggestions

Managers please note: Ensure you help them focus on the ideal solution and then discuss what went wrong. Don't blame the person's character or personality and you will be far more successful at getting them to come up with the solution for themselves.

For managers, the key really is to focus on getting the staff member to admit there has been an issue and then agreeing to take steps to change and solve their own carelessness.

Before you even begin the conversation, you have to change your self from feeling frustrated and annoyed to getting yourself into calm and centered resourceful state." Maybe you need to go outside and take a deep breath and have a little walk around, make yourself a cup of tea, have a drink of water, whatever it might be just to calm yourself down.

You might perceive carelessness to also include laziness or stupidity but the role of an effective manager/coach in the situation is to empower that person to see that they are letting themselves down so that they want to pick themselves up and learn from their mistakes and minimize the risks going forward and do a great job.

It's no help to label someone as careless. All managers should be quite hesitant to label a behavior in that way, because it's not addressing the specific incident that's occurred. It's labeling, which can be quite dangerous.

The last thing you want to do is humiliate them in front of their peers when they've made an error. That's only going to make them feel more stressed and make more errors and perform poorly so it's the last thing you want to do.

By : Juliette_Robertson

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